EPT9 London Day 1A: Marc-Andre Ladouceur takes lead and keeps it on opening day
It was time today to do things the English way on the European Poker Tour, which was in London again. London is one of only two destinations on the EPT to have staged an event in each of the nine seasons (Barcelona being the other), so it was with some nostalgia that events returned to where it all began, the Grosvenor Victoria Casino on Edgware Road.
There was a distinct British flavour to the event, down to the congested roads outside and the overcast, miserably grey weather. Back was the crowded tournament room. Back were the familiar faces of staff. Back was the mangled pronunciation of foreign names. And in keeping with the traditional English way, the local players practically insisted that the chip leader tonight should be a guest to our country.
That man is Marc-Andre Ladouceur, from Canada, who bags up 163,500 tonight, topping the list of roughly 130 players remaining after a busy first day.
As mentioned earlier today, Ladouceur is something of a side event specialist on the EPT. While it's doubtful anyone ever intends to do badly in the main before jumping into the side events, this season Ladouceur has had deep runs in Barcelona, Sanremo (a win), Prague and Deauville in those additional festival tournaments. If his progress today is anything to go by, and he made swift work of Dominck Nitsche, this could be a big week.
Also taking advantage of the hospitality were the likes of Team PokerStars Pros Vanessa Selbst and Theo Jorgensen, the latter making a return to the fold after recent well publicised events. He spent the day listening to One Direction, the result of having a teen-aged daughter. Also returning was Annette Obrestad, whose focus has been on American tournaments of late. Looking keen, trim and dangerous, Obrestad put several players to the test today, finishing well.
The Brits weren't prepared to give way entirely to the visitors.
Barny Boatman, who had Obrestad on his table, had a profitable day, as did rock-chic Liv Boeree. Luke Schwartz, who once got into trouble during EPT London over the matter of a purloined sandwich, also flew the flag, and was set to finish among the leaders until he found himself of the unpleasant side of a two-outer: "I bet your whole net worth you don't cash," said Schwartz to his adversary.
But Schwartz at least remains. The chip count page is short a few names tonight.
Former winner Aaron Gustavson departed the main event today, as did Ville Wahlbeck, Chris Bjorin, Kent Lundmark, Max Silver, Marvin Rettenmaier, Sam Holden and Ari Engel. On the plus side they're now free to go off-Edgware Road.
In keeping with the British spirit the locals will now duly concede their place in the minus five degrees taxi line to our guests, while draping their coats over any puddles to avoid any unnecessary dampness around the feet.
To catch up on all the events of today, check out the links below:
Play continues tomorrow when Day 1B gets under way, with the field described earlier as "anyone who wasn't playing today". That should be worth watching, as you can do on EPT Live Lite once more, coverage of which will start tomorrow afternoon on PokerStars.tv.
Goodnight from London.